What does "SKATE" mean in military slang?

June 25, 2020 | Skateboarding
SKATE: a military acronym for avoiding work | Illustration: Shutterstock

The word "skate" has several meanings. It can be used as a noun and as a verb. But what you might not know is that it is also an informal military acronym.

Like skateboarders with their unique slang, military personnel use many acronyms and abbreviations in their daily interactions

Not only they have their own language and codes, but they also tend to adopt abbreviations formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word.

For instance, is BM's CC CLR to go? Translated into plain English, it would mean something like this - is the ballistic missile's configuration control clear to go?

The list of military acronyms is long, creative, and clearly useful, especially if or when their goal is to confuse and mislead civilians.

Interestingly, there's an acronym that stands out from the inventory - SKATE.

Skateboarders: a tribe with a vast variety of terms and expressions | Photo: Shutterstock

SKATE or Die

We do know that skate can be used as a noun to refer to skateboards, roller skates, or inline skates.

But it is also an expression for describing a large, slippery fish of the ray family featuring a cartilaginous skeleton and a flattened diamond-shaped body and an uncouth, disreputable man.

As a verb, it is employed to describe the act of moving or riding on skates, passing over or referring only fleetingly to a problem or subject, or making quick and easy progress through.

According to the Urban Dictionary, a skate is also a street term for ecstasy and a scale to weigh drugs.

However, in military slang, SKATE has a rather curious meaning. Let's see:

S: Seek cover and concealment / Stay out of trouble
K: Keep a low profile / Keep quiet
A: Avoid higher-ups / Accept no responsibility (?)
T: Take no initiative/ Take your time / Take no action (?)
E: Evade / Enjoy yourself (?)

Confused? Apparently, it is an informal acronym used mainly by the Marines to slack off and accomplish skating, i.e., avoid work.

So, no more SKATE.

Activate your NVD (night vision device), and inform all PAX (passengers) that the TCMDR (troop commander) is on DC (damage control) mode.

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